If you're a dreamer, a wisher, a liar
A hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean buyer
If you're a pretender come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin
Come in...come in...
~Shel Silverstein

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Meet and Greet GUTGAA

Meet and Greet Questions for GUTGAA

Where do you Write? On my bed with my laptop and comfy pillows behind me.

Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see? My husband most of the time. If not him, then one of my five kids and--if none of them are taking up the second half of the bed--one of my four doggies.

Favorite Time to Write? All day, whenever I get the chance. 

Drink of choice while writing? My husband makes the best Frappe's in the whole world, even better than Starbucks. It's like having my own personal barista. :)

When writing, do you listen to music or do you need complete silence? I've done both. I can write either way. I really like listening to music but, half the time, I forget to turn it on. One of the best things about writing while listening to a playlist is that those songs are forever tied into my book so, whenever I hear one, I can see the different scenes in my head, which generally makes me smile.

What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it? Haha. I was about three-quarters of the way through the fourth re-write of my first manuscript when a bunch of people in my old critique group got ideas for second books. I panicked, wondering if I was ever going to have it in me to write anything besides the book I'd been working on. Then I remembered a short story I'd written the year before. I went back to it, re-vamped the ideas and the characters and got excited about book number two--The World Next Door--which is now complete and close to being queried. Strangely enough, now I'm worried I'll never be able to think of another idea again.

What's your most valuable writing tip? I've read this so many times that I feel totally unoriginal, but I have to second it. Read. I find so much inspiration/knowledge in reading my favorite writers. My writing is so much better because of everyone who's come before me.

Some other facts about me:Hmmm....My favorite books are the Harry Potter series, but I also am a huge fan of Cassandra Clare. I can't wait for the movie, City of Bones to come out next year. I also love all things Disney and, because of that, my house kind of looks like a five year old decorated it. I have five kids, four dogs and five cats. Chairman Meow is one of my cats, he's named after Magnus's cat in TMI. My favorite number is four because all of my kids (with the exception of the last one) were born at four. My oldest daughter 4am, then my middle daughter, 4pm, my middle son 4pm, my next son 4:04 pm. My youngest daughter broke the chain, but--since she was born at four minutes after twelve and her birthday is on 12/4 I forgive her. ;)


One of my favorite people to hang out with:



65 comments:

  1. Oh, I like your writing tip-read. It's great advice.

    http://otherworlddiner.blogspot.com/2012/09/deana-barnharts-gearing-up-to-get-agent.html

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  2. Great post!! and I have to say...Your favorite person is pretty stinking cute!!! I didn't realize that all your kids were born at 4!!! That is weird...and awesome:)

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  3. Hi! Stopping by from GUTGAA. I think it's only right that kid #5 should break with the "4" tradition. I sometimes wonder about those writers that have a TON of ideas. I have a few but the stories don't pour from me like others. So, take heart! When the story needs you to tell it, it will show up and demand you pay attention.

    Glad to meet you!

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  4. Your son is so cute! Funny how inspiration hits us sometimes. I'm sure you'll find another idea worth writing :) Nice to meet you and thanks for stopping by my blog!

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  5. Hi Mia...thanks for stopping by!

    Hi Mike...Now we can both have blogs. :)

    Hi Kasie...I love your name. It's the name of my MC in my first book. :) It's nice to hear that not all writers have a million ideas constantly. I have to work for them but, once I do, they seem to come. But I think I'm always gonna be that writer who worries that I'll run out of ideas. haha. Thanks for stopping by!

    J.A...The little guy in the pic is my grandson. He's 2 1/2 this month and he's a little pisser but I love him to death! Thanks for visiting!

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  6. My birthday was almost 12/4! I was born two weeks past my estimated due date and saved my mother from a C-section by coming naturally at the last minute. What genre do you write in?

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    1. Carrie-Anne All my kids were two weeks late. haha. I write YA. My current book is a light sci-fi romance. How about you?

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  7. Hello from another GUTGAA member. I love it when you come back to a story and realize that there's more there to work with. It's like seeing an old friend and not only catching up but becoming better friends.

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    1. Hi Blair,
      I agree. It was really neat to see how much more there was to the story than I'd originally realized. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. Hi Tamara, great to meet you! I'm also a fan of Cassandra Clare and Disney lol And to reply to your comment on my blog, I didn't write a cursed vamp story, I actually wrote one about a cursed witch, but I guess a cursed vamp would be pretty interesting too! And believe it or not I'm currently reading The Immortal Rules, liking it so far!

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    1. It just gets better and better as the book continues. I can't wait for the next one. Come back and let me know if you liked it. :)

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  9. Thought I'd skip down to the end of the list thinking you all may not have many GUTGAA visitors. Great to get to know you!

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    1. Thanks for visiting us people at the end of the list Valerie!! I appreciate it. :)

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  10. Wow! You have a FULL house! How is it quiet enough to write? :)

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    1. Rachel--it's not. haha. I'm just really good at tuning everything out. My kids all know that when they come in to ask me a question they have to wait a couple minutes of me staring at them blankly before my head gets out of imaginary world long enough to answer them. Thanks for the follow!

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  12. Adorable picture!! I LOVE that you met your husband in juvie!! Sounds like a great premise for a book.... ;) Nice to meet you!

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    1. You too, Kimberly. He is adorable, isn't he? haha. His name is Jace (like any good YA obsessed-fan, I insistently suggested to my daughter that she name him after Jace in The Mortal Instruments. Luckily, they were some of her fave books too, so she agreed.:)

      haha. I never thought of writing my own story. No fun paranormal angle in that but, you're right, it would be a cool premise.

      Thanks so much for coming by!

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  14. Wow... all those fours are amazing! Also - great advice. I didn't know City of Bones was coming out next year - awesome! I'm stopping in from GUTGAA because I saw your comment on the Beta Reader sign-up page. I signed up for a beta reader as well... but haven't contacted (or been contacted by) anyone yet. I've never had a beta reader before... I didn't sign up to be a beta reader but, if you haven't heard from anyone yet, I'd be willing to do a read-swap/beta-reader thing whenever you wanted. I write YA (some NA) speculative (mostly paranormal), if you're interested. :) Check out my blog (heatherriffle.wordpress.com) for a better idea of what I write before you decide. Thanks. And good luck!

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  15. Hi Heather,
    So, I checked out your blog. You must be so super-excited about getting chosen by Entangled. Good luck with that! I will say one thing (I noticed you said on your blog that the book is 104,000) That's high for YA. I've heard that anything over 95 is automatically a no for a lot of agents. That may be why your having problems with the query. I've heard you can round down to the nearest 10,000--so, technically going by that rule, you could try querying it at 100,000. You might have better luck.

    Your book definitely sounds like something I'd like. The Pale Ones remind me of the Specters in His Dark Materials. Did you ever read those? Awesome books. Do you have a writing sample (other than your query) up on your blog? I couldn't find one. If you want to check mine out, I have both my query and my first 250 up at: http://cupidslitconnection.blogspot.com/2012/09/cagi-entry-29.html

    Also, I've learned that it's a good idea to exchange the first chapter or two to make sure we're compatible with writing styles/critiquing before moving any further than that. Would that work for you? I signed up to follow on your blog, so you can get back to let me know me that way, or through here. Nice to meet you!

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    1. Hi! Yeah... I've been whittling the word count down recently... down to 101k now, still trying to figure out what scenes are unnecessary and whatnot though... Sure, we could check out our first chapters if you like - that'd be great! My email is heather(dot)sizemore1(at)gmail(dot)com. I just exchanged first chapters with a potential critique partner through GUTGAA (exciting), so I could really use the more subjective look of a beta reader. I read your query and excerpt - sounds like something I'd like.

      Thanks!

      Also, I'll put an excerpt up with my query. Nice to meet you, too!

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  16. Oooh, jealous of your frappe situation! Nice to meet you! :)

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  17. Greetings!

    I'm hopping over from GUTGAA and checking out blogs. Nice to meet you...you have a lovely blog! Good luck with the contest...

    Donna L Martin
    www.donnalmartin.com
    www.donasdays.blogspot.com

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  18. Hi Donna,

    I've been doing that too. I'll definitely check out your blog. I could really use some followers if you're interested. Mine is brand new. :)

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    1. Tamara,

      I just read your comment on my website. I'm sorry you are having trouble with my blog..not sure why that is..the link is correct WWW.DONASDAYS.BLOGSPOT.COM and I was just on it so I'm not sure why you're having trouble. My background for my website was offered by Wordpress and my blogger background is an option in my Blogger design settings. I'm a new follower...good luck with the new blog!

      Donna L Martin
      www.donnalmartin.com
      www.donasdays.blogspot.com

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    2. Oh yeah, just a thought...you put your comment on my WEBSITE so I'm wondering if you thought you had reached my actual blog yet? I'm sorry for any confusion...if you were on my website, click on the tab that says Blog and then you can click on the actual blog link to ON THE WRITE TRACK...which is my actual blog...hopefully all this makes sense...;~)

      Donna L Martin
      www.donnalmartin.com
      www.donasdays.blogspot.com

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  19. Hi Donna,
    Thanks! I'll give that a shot. :)

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  20. Nice I meet you. Good luck with GUTGAA.

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  21. Hi Tamara! Thanks for stopping by my blog, and for your nice comment on CAGI! If you still want to beta, please send me an email. We can chat :) That sounds like one crowded bed, and I'm impressed that you can write with such a full house. Congrats on the new blog!

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    1. Hi Mara,
      Just wanted to know I emailed you back yesterday. thanks for coming by!

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  22. Hi Nice to meet you. I'm a bit late with Gutgaa but enjoying reading all these blogs. Good to see other mummy writers!
    Amber a Bardan
    Website/Blog
    http://amberabardan.com/page8.html
    Twitter
    @amberabardan

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    1. Amber--no problem being late. I was one of the last sign ups on the linkly list. I'm perpetually late for most things in life. haha. Nice to meet you!

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  23. I'm sorry to be so late on the GUTGAA meet and greet. As always, life exploded into chaos when I thought things would calm down. Well, can't be helped. Here I am. Your son looks wonderful. I wish mine were still that small. I only made it to three, and the eldest is nearly an adult already. Time just flies...

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    1. No problem. My life has a habit of exploding on a regular basis, so I know just what you mean. And mine aren't so small anymore either. :( My youngest is thirteen, my oldest twenty-two. The little guy in the pic is my first grandson. He's a little stinker but I love him to death.

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  24. It's nice to meet you!
    I love that certain songs make you think of your book. It makes me wish I could listen to music while I write!

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    1. Rachel--Nice to meet you too. Your little girl is adorable. :)thanks for stopping by.

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  27. Hi from GUTGAA! I'm glad I'm not the only one who looked over to my left and saw my hubby!
    Best wishes for this month:)
    Talynn #28

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  28. Thanks Talynn! That's a cool name. I have a Tally in my book. :)

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  29. Hey Tamara,

    I love the title of your book and your entry on Cupid Lit sounds awesome. Good luck with the contest and GUTGAA! I also worry about getting a new idea. I usually just sit down and brainstorm 2-3 future book ideas just so I'll always have something to look forward to. Then again, ideas come from unexpected places.

    Best,
    TY

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    1. Thanks Ty,
      I'm actually thinking that the next book I write I'm going to work on with my son. He loves to write too and I think it would be fun to brainstorm with him and see what a different direction the story will take with him on board. (Just in case you're wondering what I'm talking about, that's not him in the pic up above, that's my grandson) My son is sixteen. Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by and the nice words about my book!

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  30. Hi, Tamara! Aren't supportive husbands the best? I have to fight mine to get to do menial tasks for myself. :)

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    1. Yes. They absolutely awesome. I just had my twenty-five year anniversary and I'm more in love with him than ever. :)

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  31. Okay... can you please post your husbands recipe for a better than SB frap? I could really use one right about now!! It's great to meet you and I look forward to meeting someone who's able to write with five kidlets... I only have two and it makes my head hurt trying to juggle everything!

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    1. Hi Sarah! Here goes. My husband says it will cost you a dollar. haha.

      1)Get French Vanilla coffee (the best kind is Sam's choice. You can get it at Walmart. We've tried other kinds but they are nowhere near as good.)

      2) Make a pot of coffee. My husband says he usually makes two so he can make a whole gallons worth.

      3.)In an empty gallon water or well-rinsed out milk jug put about a cup and a half of sugar (add more or less to your liking)

      4.) Add about a quarter cup powdered creamer (again, to your liking)

      5.)Pour the first coffee mixture into the gallon containing the sugar and creamer. (This whole recipe is four two pots of coffee to make a full gallon, so cut in half if needed)

      6.)Make more coffee. Add second pot to gallon. With oven mitts, shake the gallon well, being careful not too allow too much pressure in the gallon. Pop the cap to let some of the pressure out.

      7.)Refrigerate. Forget about it for half a day or so.

      8.)For one 22 ounce frappe, add about 10-12 cubes. (He doesn't count he's just estimating. It basically covers the bottom of the blender)

      9.)Pour frappe mixture over the ice, making sure to just cover the ice-cubes. (Maybe a half inch past the cubes)

      10.)Blend well. If you want, you can add powdered mocha coffee into the mix before blending to make chocolate frappes.

      11.)top with whip cream and enjoy!!

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  32. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Good luck with your WIP!

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  33. Hi Tamara,

    Wow! You sure got a great blog up in no time! So pleased to meet and greet through GUTGAA!
    I like your advice to writers, and WHoa! You have so many fine comments so fast!! Whoosh!

    Dr Margaret Aranda, Author
    www.girlpowerinamm.blogspot.com
    www.drmargaretaranda.blogspot.com

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  34. haha...My husband always says that I'm incapable of doing anything half-way. So, when I do something I tend to throw myself into it to an almost ridiculous degree. I've been visiting a million blogs and trying to learn all about blogging so I can make this site the best it can be. Thanks so much for stopping by!! I'm pretty sure you're the first Dr. on my blog.

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  35. Love the blog title! Shel Silverstein is great, isn't he? Oh, you are sooo lucky to have a frappe-making hubby-- I'd be sucking those babies down all day. So, the 4 thing is freaky cool, definitely a lotto pick number for you. :P Agreed, I listen to music when editing and now my faves are song scenes. Your big family, pets included, sounds amazing--this is a treasury of book fodder--and on the flip side writing is a great way to preserve all those precious moments with them. Cheers!

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  36. Thanks DD--Yeah, Shel Silverstein is awesome. I figured I should put the poem on here so the title didn't seem overly weird. haha.

    I actually haven't used too much stuff from my family in my writing, so far I think it's been more inspired by my adolescence and books I've read. But the more I write, the more I'm noticing things I never noticed before, so I'm sure some family stuff will make it in there eventually. :) Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  37. I hear you about getting better through reading. I was explaining to a coworker why I re-read books I like. If I liked it, then there is something there that the author did right and I can learn from it. He thought I was boring... ;)

    Enjoy GUTGAA!

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  38. Anthony,

    I re-read books for the same reason. I've learned more from just reading, especially authors I really like, than anything else. It's exactly what you said. If I find something I admire in the story, I study the book to see how the author made it work. Your co-worker sounds like a person who probably doesn't even read a story once, much less twice. haha. I never understand people who don't like to read. What kind of stuff do you read/write? I write YA--always with a paranomrmal or sci-fi twist.Good luck with GUTGAA and thanks for stopping by. :)

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  39. Hey Tamara,

    Thanks for visiting me and it's great to meet you, too!

    I agree completely with your thoughts on the influence that music has on your mood and on your inspiration while writing. As I mentioned in my bio, the TRON: Legacy soundtrack basically drove me through my first manuscript, and every time I throw it on, each track reminds me of a specific scene :) It's great that you feel the same way, and I hope you continue to find music that inspires you as you write.

    I can also get your feeling about not having another idea again. I sometimes feel that way, especially after a major project, which a lot of your creative energy has been pumped into. I would say the solution, at lease for me, is to take a break from being creative for a while, or from writing itself. Let yourself be open to absorbing new ideas and new inspiration, which is easier to do when not focused on creating. Eventually a new idea will come, and you'll have plenty of energy to get excited about it.

    I'm glad that you've also thrown yourself into the Contests this month!!! Sometimes I'm wary about it, but I feel like it might open some doors for me, both with agents but the writing community in general. I didn't get into the agent round for #PitchMadness as well, but it's no biggie. 200 entries, only 60 picked, 4 blogs and tons of slush readers... the process is subjective the whole way through, so you never know. Only thing to do is keep entering, and keep improving the query, get the project out there. The title and premise should be well known, even while it's in development.

    So don't be bummed, use contests as a way to experiment with different queries, try different starting points to your work, and just be open minded about it. Beta readers and critique groups can help but with these contests you open it up to a lot more people, who don't know you and are objective.

    I'll pop over to your #CAGI entry right now! I'm right after you, #30, come by and give me your insight and feedback! Would love to hear what you think.

    Cheers,

    John

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    1. Thanks for the great response, John. I think the contests are awesome too. It was really cool timing. I finished my book about four days before Write On (were you in that?) That's where I learned about a bunch of the different contests. I'll shoot over to CAGI now. :)

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    2. P.S. I was kind of in a hurry when I wrote that earlier, but I just wanted to comment on the music thing again. I think music is an amazing source of inspiration. Lyrics. I'm a big lyric listener. Not so much when I write, but the rest of the time. While writing my first book, I heard "Follow You into the Dark" (Deathcab) for the first time. I thought it was the prettiest song and I instantly decided I wanted my main MC to someday sing it to the girl he loves. That inspired the decision to make him play guitar which, in turn, literally changed the entire story into something I'd never envisioned. It was such a cool process.

      Then, same sort of thing with this book. I heard the song "Jolene" by the White Stripes (which I'd listened to a bunch of times) but I was really paying attention to the lyrics and it inspired a huge change in one of my minor characters which--again--ended up taking the second half of the story in a different direction than where I'd been heading with it.

      Then today I was listening to Eminem (I have pretty eclectic tastes in music) "Watch You Burn" which gave me an idea for a whole new set of characters. I'm not sure what the world/conflict would be yet but--for me--once I get a character, I can easily go from there. So much for never having a new idea. haha.

      Anyway, sorry for writing you a book in my comment section, it's just cool to talk to someone who gets the whole music thing. :)

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    3. Definitely! I'm actually the opposite—I prefer soundtracks and instrumentals when write (or even for inspiration). I guess it's because for me, my imagination always starts with the world first, then the characters second. So music can make me feel immersed in a world, or it can inspire me to create a new one :)

      Cheers,

      John

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  41. Hi Tamara- I love writing on my bed too. It's the best place. Go GUTGAA!

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  42. Hi Tamara--it's so nice to meet you! By the way, The first part of the facts about you I could've written. I LOVE Harry Potter books and Cassandra Clare. I've read both HP and all of Clare's books multiple times, and I've actually taught HP in my comp classes. And we love, love, love Disney! I bow down to you, though, that you make the time to write with 5 kids. I have one (a 5yo boy) and he keeps me so busy. It's awesome that you're working in writing!

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  43. Hi! Nice to meet you as well. Sounds like we have a lot of cool stuff in common! So, now we have to gossip about it. haha. Did you like the casting for City of Bones? I was kind of "meh" on most of it. People seem to fall into the love or hate category with Jamie Bower as Jace. I'm in the latter.

    On another note, have you heard the rumors that they're expanding Harry Potter World? Fingers crossed!! I'm currently re-listening to the books on audio with the family. So much fun.

    My kids are all older, so it's fairly easy now...at least on the rare days my two year old grandson isn't running around my house like a wrecking ball. haha

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  44. Ahhh City of Bones casting. I really like most of the casting. Jamie Bower as Jace, not so much. He might do a good job on screen, but looks-wise, that's just not how I pictured Jace. Besides, he's supposed to be much taller than Clary, right? I <3 Simon's casting. Clary and Isabelle I like. Alec, not too much a fan. Like Magnus. The adults I'm okay with except for Luke. Aidan Turner looks about the same age as the actors playing the teens! But Cassandra Clare weaves such an amazing world and characters and I love her language. I'm excited about seeing the vision in film.

    I hadn't heard the rumors about HP World! OMG! I'll have to look into that. I was in heaven walking through there. I've only been twice, but each time it's just surreal. They did a really good job with it. My son's 5 and we watched the first of the movies (not sure he's ready for more) and I can't WAIT for him to read it to him aloud. He's gotten really into the Magic Treehouse books, so now that I see he can handle books without picture (haha) I might venture into reading book 1 with him.

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I love to hear from everyone! Thanks for the comment. :)